Govt agrees to probe 'rigging' in elections
16 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday agreed to constitute a parliamentary committee on the proposal of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to probe alleged rigging in May 11 general elections. The National Assembly (NA) also expressed concern over the situation in Egypt through a unanimous adopted resolution.
Referring to a letter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told NA that a committee of the House should be constituted to investigate allegations of rigging and furnish proposals for electoral reforms.
Nisar said the committee should be given a timeframe to complete its findings and proposals. "This committee should be fully authorised to summon former caretaker prime minister and caretaker chief ministers, returning officers and officials of Election Commission of Pakistan to bring fore the truth," he said.
NA Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who was chairing the proceedings, asked parliamentary heads to give the names of their nominees for the committee and announced to hold a meeting in the speaker's chamber to finalise its Terms of Reference (ToR).
Leader of the Opposition in NA Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah welcomed the government's decision to form a committee on the alleged election rigging. PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mahmood Querashi also welcomed the move.
The deteriorating situation in Egypt also surfaced prominently in the House and it passed a resolution to express concern over use of force by Egyptian security forces against protesters opposing the removal of democratic government.
The resolution, moved by Jamaat-e-Islami Parliamentary Leader Sahibzada Tariqullah with the support of treasury, expressed full support for the "brotherly people of Egypt" and called upon the government to convey to the Egyptian government MPs' deep concern over assault on unarmed civilians and loss of many innocent lives there.
"The government of Egypt should be urged to show restrain and resolve the constitutional, legal and political issues through dialogue amongst all the parties," the resolution said.
On a point of order‚ the interior minister also showed concerns over recent incidents of violence in Egypt. He said Egypt is a sovereign country but this is an era of democracy and violations of human rights and massacre of people cannot be allowed.
About the new National Security Policy, Nisar told the House that government wants to formulate a "doable policy" that could yield required results. The minister, however, showed dismay over calls for quick working on the security policy and said many countries had taken "many years and decades" to curb the menace of terrorism. "Unless we get acquainted with the magnitude of the problem, it could not be resolved," he said.
For broader national consensus on the policy, Nisar added, a meeting of major parties would be held this month to evolve a consensus over the National Security Policy. "The government will also welcome inputs of all the parliamentarians on the security policy", he said.
Nisar emphasised upon provincial governments to devise proactive security policies to deal with the current situation and assured the House that the federal government would continue to support provincial governments in handling law and order situation.
The minister said the federal government is sharing intelligence reports with provincial governments and it is their responsibility under the 18th Amendment to handle the security situation. He urged provincial governments to activate their intelligence institutions, including CID and Special Branch, to thwart terror attacks.
Later, the chair deferred the constitution of the parliamentary committees of the House when PTI, JI and MQM objected to low representation of their parties in these committees.